Self Reflection, Uncategorized

The Magic of Resilience and Transforming Negativity

At times I find myself stumbling through hard times due to failures in various forms, health issues and even matters of the heart, but never do I let these moments destroy my passion or my sense of self-worth.  If I am nothing else, I am resilient.  I may not always enjoy or embrace change – quite honestly it causes my anxiety to peek through, but I have learned, out of necessity, to adjust and adapt.  Resilience is one of my greatest tools and I keep it honed and at my side.  I have found that if I roll with the punches, but yet stay focused, a freight train could not stop this lady.

If I find myself suffering,  I use the negativity and pain as an ingredient to spark and fuel this machine and allow it to propel me away from the hurt.  I refuse to get comfortable in the pain nor allow it to take up residence.  I also believe you have to keep moving.  Do not stop, but to only to rest.   Learning, living and engaging is what keeps me motivated.  What motivates you during times of adversity?

Life is hard so stay strong, my friends, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Transformation

 

COPYRIGHT

All posts and content on this blog are the works of honestylybyellengood.com and @honestlybyellengood.  Unauthorized use and/ or duplication of this material without the express and written permission of the author is strictly not allowed.  You may use excerpts and links or reblogs of this material provided that complete and clear credit is given to @honestlybyellengood and with clear directions to the original content.

Uncategorized

Slightly Tattered, A Little Torn

 

My body is the jacket cover to my continuously evolving book,

a tale of of pain and pleasure, a story seeming typical at first look.

A few deep marks represent the gift of motherhood and the creation of life,

yet others are stark reminders of disease and the cuts of the surgeons knife.

The cover is somewhat tattered and the pages slight bent,

but the chapters within are filled with stories of love, bravery, honesty, and pure intent.

Uncategorized

Midlife Mayhem and the Pursuit of Happiness…My Way

Some may think that “middle age” is a time of your life when you can start to breathe and enjoy life a bit, and yes, I do think there is some truth to that unless, of course, you are in my boat.  This ship rocks and rolls to its own beat, timeline and navigational system. Just when you thought the seas where calm, typhoon Stacy hits the shores. As my children are starting their ascent into adulthood, exiting the safe confines of my ship,  I am finding my world starting to becoming off-balance – not quite a mutiny on the bounty off balance, but I am definitely navigating through some uncharted territories. What is the phrase, “up creek without a paddle?” That certainly feels like me at times!

Despite all my chronic health issues, all in all, life has been good.  Granted “good” is a relative term that we assign to it our own personal value.  If graduating from college, having a family, engaging in a semi-successful career, and watching two incredible young people evolve into adults is good, then yes, my life has been very good.   I guess I never really put much thought into life post children and post marriage. No one really plans to have a marriage end and parenting is so self-encompassing, you never allow your mind to  imagine a life when you are not a constant caregiver; elbow deep in diapers, homework, soccer games, and teenage drama. You never look too far ahead. Well, guess what? I crossed that threshold of both, and I am asking myself, “Is life still good?”

Yes, life is still good, but hard and complex, and at times very frustrating and emotionally exhausting.  I have never taken the easy road in life, and have always loved a good challenge. I am not afraid to work hard and I always set my goals high, but I think I am ready for some smooth sailing and a change of pace for just a bit.  A cocktail on the deck kind of break. The past seven years have been a hard sprint, and although feeling these feet pounding the pavement has been exhilarating and life affirming, I think it is time to take a breather. My sneakers are getting a little worn and even the toughest sailors pull into port to rest from time to time.

Here is the problem, If I am being completely honest, how the heck do I do that?  I have never been one to settle, and this crazy mind of mine goes at lightning speeds thinking of the next thing that I need to do, or what I have yet to accomplish. The longest I have been out of work was three months after the birth of each of my children. I do not know how not to be pursuing something. Surviving cancer twice has only added a new layer to my already complex psyche and standards.  I do not want to waste time or take life for granted. Tomorrow is not promised, and I do not want to regret anything that I choose not to embrace today. So this girl has got a quandary on her hands; continue to set sail or stay ashore awhile. Or there is a third option, find a good therapist on speed dial.

There is no rule book for this leg of my journey.  No family members to model after, no guidelines or standards, just me and the world at my feet.  It mirrors my life almost 23 years ago when I was preparing for my college graduation. Perhaps this is where my discomfort comes from – no rules to set me in a particular direction.  Despite my free spirit and wanderlust, I do like routine and playing by the rules. I find comfort in the stability of familiarity. I love to be adventurous and risk taking as long as I can come home to my familiar safe zone.  In little over a year my youngest will be embarking on his own future, and I will no longer have the day-to day responsibilities of being a full-time parent. My routine will change, and what was once a norm for me, will no longer exist. My safe zone will be different if not entirely redesigned.

Perhaps new norms can surface as I welcome change. I do long for the day that I can run around the house in my underwear after 20 years of looking out for little ones lurking around the corners.  I will be able to shower with the door open without sneaky eyes peeking around the shower curtain or adult yells from the other room, “Mom, really? Shut the door!” So as I start to ponder on this next chapter, I am beginning to see some of the silver linings.  It may be just the freedom to run around my house half-clothed, but it is something, right?

I think the emotion of letting go of the past and welcoming the future has always been hard for me when it is not on my own terms; especially when it comes to the two loves of my life, my children. I never imagined motherhood could and would leave such a stronghold on my heart.  I marvel at how they have grown and have brought me such pride and joy, but I also weep knowing that I have raised them well and need to let them fly the course that their hearts direct them. The relationship transformation from adolescent child to adult child is one that is welcoming and also heart wrenching.  My children probably have seen me cry more in the past couple years than they have in their entire life. My son, I think, routinely expects it.  If I have not sobbed in a while he probably thinks, “Oh boy, there must be big one coming soon!” He did witness his sister graduate and go off to college which involved his normally rational mother lose her shit a few times.  We, as mothers, survive, but it is definitely an adjustment on many levels. You begin to come to terms that you are no longer needed on a daily basis, and that opens room for void.

What do we do with this void?  If you are single such as myself, maybe it is time to find a new partner in crime or even better yet, travel!   Although the dating scene for me has been nothing less than insane, I have not put much energy into it lately as the cancer shenanigans and raising my children have been my main priorities.  But the times I have, Lord have mercy, what a comedy bit. I think I am better off sticking with traveling. These stories really have to be shared in person and over a glass of wine to experience the full effect.  Let’s just say there was a firearm, a foot fetish, and requests that crossed beyond my moral standards. I have enough to tell a therapist and I do not need any additional trauma to pack into those sessions.

After these less than desirable dating episodes, I am not looking per se. I would much rather meet someone organically like I used to back in the good old days. The days when you would go out with friends and be introduced to one of their single colleagues, friends, or acquaintances – it was just so easy.  Now half the population in my age group is married, and those that are single come with a good share of baggage. I am no light suitcase either. Anyone who reads my blog knows some of my challenges, and the number of bags I drag behind me. Light is not a description I would give myself.

I love technology, but honestly, online dating is not my forte. Fake photos, less than poetic exaggerated bios with cheesy one liners are often what I experience.  No judgement to those who enjoy it, or who have found success. It may work for some, but I fear my next experience may end up being a future Lifetime movie special if I venture down that path any further.  I will stay aboard my ship cruising along doing my “thing” until I find a nice sailor passing by during my travels. I am not lonely, and I enjoy my independence very much so there is no rush. I guess another silver lining to this next chapter – I can focus on establishing relationships.  Hopefully healthy and safe ones.

My middle-aged years have been extraordinary in more ways than one. I have been blessed with many great experiences, loving family, and dear friends.  I have also endured much pain and loss, but nothing that I cannot rebound or grow from. Often I feel as if I am walking through a dark hallway bouncing off walls, which can be a normal occurence for me on any given day, but I am discovering that half the fun is learning how not to worry about the next step, and let my senses guide me.  It is o.k. to stumble and fall, and if you need to take a break before getting back up, that is o.k. too. I love the expression, “Life is a journey, not a race,” and as I have become more experienced in life, I am learning to embrace the journey, even if it is not what I had planned for myself. Sailing through my midlife adventures will undoubtedly not be short of laughter, tears, and some hair-raising experiences, but I am going to do my best to embrace and share them.  After all, why should I keep all this fun to myself?

Inspiration, Motherhood, Poetry, Self Reflection, Self-discovery, Uncategorized, Write

The Evolution of She

She wandered through the empty corners of her mind looking for direction and inspiration she may have not tapped into quite yet.  She felt numb and uninspired, almost comatose as she navigated through this next phase of her life.   This was the moment she had fantasized about for years when she was knee deep in responsibility and unrelenting demands; to be on her own and to call the shots when life decision needed to be made.  On the contrary, she felt incapable of thinking past this one moment, towards the horizon for new opportunities and adventure.

She had been so focused on getting through each day making certain her loved ones’ needs were met that she often did not have the time nor the energy for herself.   Her attention and resources were always zeroed in on her children and her own health battles that she never allowed herself to feel carefree.  Her strength and willpower, which propelled and pushed her through cancer and divorce, also made her stoic and a bit of a loner.   She closed her heart off and boxed up the pain in order to stay focused and rebuild her life. She could not allow herself to fall apart, for she did not have the time nor the resources for a breakdown.

The joy she received primarily came from watching her children grow and magically transform into young adults.  Her happiness was often dependent upon the happiness and approval of others along with her professional achievements.  If her loved ones were happy, then so was she. As her children entered adulthood, she forgot how to be happy for herself and to do things that solely brought her delight and contentment.  She felt unnerved to put herself first and placing the opinions of others aside. For years her attention was narrowly focused on forging ahead and remaining a strong, responsible adult in every aspect.  She never diverted from the path and kept her eyes set on the end game.

The thought of self-indulgence was not only a foreign concept, but a forbidden one.  Self-serving acts were to come later in life when she had accomplished all her goals and achieved her career aspirations.  Had she been strong too long?  Was she too independent? Had she simply lost the thirst and ability live for herself?  Perhaps this crossroad she stumbled upon is the first step to learning to let go and live a bit. Is it time she loosens the grip on her need for control and let life take the wheel for a bit?  Could she begin to resist focusing on what she has yet to accomplish and start marveling at all that has been achieved?

She should be proud of the world she created and the love she has provided others.  She mothered to the best of her abilities and provided her children with the best version of herself. She led by example and showed them what hard work and sacrifice could accomplish. They are thriving and doing just fine.  She has a career that is promising and is financially stable.  She should realize that despite all her setbacks, she has achieved tremendous growth. She has never stopped moving and she does not know the meaning of defeat.  She will let the concept of “what if” and “if only” evaporate into the past.

Today is going to be different, today she is going to take a deep breath and acknowledge her life is evolving and morphing into something unfamiliar.  Her home dynamic and overall life is changing, but it is not to be feared, rather embraced.  She will always remain a supportive, present mother, but it is time to allow her children to find themselves and their place in the world while she does the same. She is going to learn to enjoy the journey and accepts the risks and insecurities that come with the ride. She will unfold and focus on her dreams that were once silently placed in the background. She will not hold fear in her soul but will only allow joy and positivity to take refuge in her being.

Today she will take the leading step from the uncertainty at the crossroad onto the path she so chooses, but before doing so, she will start with the simplest of acts; she will start with loving herself first.

 

©Honestly by Ellen Good 2020

All posts and content on this blog is the works of honestylybyellengood.com and @honestlybyellengood.  Unauthorized use and/ or duplication of this material without the express and written permission of the author is strictly not allowed.  You may use excerpts and links or reblogs of this material provided that complete and clear credit is given to @honestlybyellengood and with clear directions to the original content.

Inspiration, Poetry, Self Reflection, Self-discovery, Uncategorized, Write

The Empath in Me

When the world around you becomes too much,
when the chaos in your mind becomes too loud,
step back, stay in, and sit in your thoughts or
engage in that which brings you back to balance.
The world can wait.     ˜ Honestly by Ellen Good

Very often I find myself needing to recharge.  I am never quite certain why, but I seem to get to a point where my mind and body just, for a lack of a better word, poops out.  I have always been envious of those who are able to keep moving and have an endless reserve of energy.   I can burn the candle at both ends for only so long before I need to retreat to my place of peace.

I find peace and solace in my home.  The chaos of the outside world can be overwhelming and heavy. This weight can cause anxiety and sensory overload and requires me to back off a bit.  The mental retreat and decompression can last a day or sometimes longer.  During this time I am fully capable continuing with daily routines responsibilities, but will often retreat to the calm of my home when the day is done.

I thought for many years this behavior may be the direct affect of social anxiety or I was simply an introvert, but these labels never set quite well with me. I typically function quite fine with others whether it is individually or in a group setting. Others have described me as outgoing and sometimes pretty darn funny.  But no matter how socially appropriate I may have appeared,  I still found myself preferring one-on-one meet ups.    Don’t get me wrong, there are instances when I love the energy I experience in a larger group.  It can be exhilarating and refreshing; an energizing high with out the intoxicating effects of a drugs.  But and this is a large “but,” I can only be in these types of environments for a period before I need to escape.  I like to do what some call the “Houdini.”  Once I have had my fill and fun, I will leave unsuspectingly to avoid the typical, “Don’t leave yet!” or “Why are you leaving so soon?” How do you tell people, “It is just too much and I need to go?”  I feel as if others would not understand.  When I am done, I am done.  There is no getting around it.  If I do stay, I am usually pretty removed from the conversation and I am just in it for appearance sake. Not fully understanding why I feel the way I do, I just carried on with life with a question mark when it came to   my social behavior and need for consistent alone time.

Recently that question mark has been replaced with an exclamation mark.  For starters, I am thankful for social media and on-line networking because it was through these mediums I have found others who seem to feel just like me. I soon discovered that I do not have social anxiety nor am I necessarily an introvert.  I am what some refer to as an empath.  Empaths are those who are highly sensitive emotionally and physically.  Empaths feel and are affected by the energy and emotions of others.  Now, I am not real fond of adding unnecessary labels to oneself, but this one is a welcome as it has answered so many of my own questions.   There is a great article in Psychology Today from February 19th, 2016 by Dr. Judith Orloff, M.D. that breaks down the definition and traits.   To my surprise and relief, I found I identify with nine out of ten of the traits.

The most important thing I took away from the article is that empaths do need time to recharge and find balance after a long work week or when too much time is spent in large groups or with those that can me emotionally taxing.  I felt a sense of peace knowing that this behavior is not abnormal and there are others that share these same experiences. I spend most of my weekends writing, reading and watching movies rather than going out and blowing off steam.  My blowing off steam is finding a peaceful space, engaging in good conversation with a friend over coffee, or spending time with family where I can relax and be myself and in my thoughts.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going out for drinks or to a concert on occasion, but that is not every weekend.  This girl’s body could not handle it nor would want to.

One aspect that many do not understand about empaths is that they often have issues with intimacy and committed relationships. Another light bulb went off when I read this because I do and I have had commitment issues despite being married for nearly 16 years. Granted the  marriage ending for various reason other than my empathic ways.    Since my divorce many have questioned my single-hood and I am sure they have their own theories about me, but the truth is pretty darn simple; I do not feel the need to be with someone to find happiness and fulfillment. To me a relationship is like dessert; it is delightful when you indulge in it, but not a requirement for a great dinner. I have always been highly independent and  I feel content experiencing life on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a partner to share life experiences with, but, again, I do not feel it is needed to sustain my happiness. I anticipate I will not leave this world alone. I am financially and emotionally independent but in order to allow myself to take that fall, the addition of a partner into my life will have to be worth rocking my already functional and peaceful world.

In all honestly, I feel blessed being an empath.  Although others may not understand why I do what I do or my need for solitude, and that is o.k.  I have never been afraid to fall outside of the norm or have others look at me with wonder or question.  It may have taken four decades to find peace and to fully understand the unique being I am, but for the first time, I feel a sense of peace.  And really, in the end, if we are all at peace with ourselves and the life we live, then that is all that matters.

Note:  If you would like to read the article by Dr. Judith Orloff, M.D.  I referenced in my blog, below is the link that will connect you.  As I continue to research and learn more about empaths, I will write a follow-up piece to share any new insight and knowledge.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-freedom/201602/10-traits-empathic-people-share

©Honestly by Ellen Good 2020

Inspiration, Poetry, Self Reflection, Self-discovery, Uncategorized, Write

Escaping the Mist

The dismal days of lonely desperation and unbearable sadness

taught her to embrace those periods of pure joy and emotional liberation.

The fog will eventually dissipate

as she begins to find her way out of the murky mist.

 

© 2019 Honesty by Ellen Good

Inspiration, Poetry, Self Reflection, Self-discovery, Uncategorized, Write

Rules of Engagement; Second Time Around

She desired to be loved by one who was not threatened by her opinions, intellect and eclectic views; someone who could leave the ego at the door and expose their authentic self without fear and trepidation.

Although her desire for companionship was often at the forefront of her mind, her unbridled need for a most compatible partner was far stronger. There would be no stand-in and no compromise.

She was independent and secure in her identity and solitude.

© 2019 Honestly by Ellen Good
Inspiration, Poetry, Self Reflection, Self-discovery, Uncategorized, Write

Rebel with A Plan

She felt most liberated in mind, body, and spirit when she shook off all the expectations and societal norms.

A rebel in her own making, and more alive than ever before,

she took her first steps towards happiness with clear intent and unfaltering determinations.

Inspiration, Poetry, Self Reflection, Self-discovery, Uncategorized, Write

Time; Friend and Foe

Time can be the greatest friend, yet biggest betrayer.

It generously gives what seems like glimpses and instances of happiness while later lingering painstakingly with occasions of hurt and sadness.

A continuous, cyclical exchange; as it gives, it takes until the very end when we ask with apprehension, “Where has time gone?”

Poetry, Self Reflection, Self-discovery, Uncategorized

Matters of the Heart

The broken heart you left behind eventually mended and healed, but the scarring that holds the pieces together will never feel and can never be touched.
Wall constructed, defenses on high, my life is no longer focused on matters of the heart.
It is consumed with finding freedom and happiness that were once denied.